Major SEO Dos And Don’ts For Local Businesses
If you have a local business, you might feel like you’ve been dealt a bad hand by Google. Afterall, doesn’t the internet favor large organizations over small businesses? False. Google’s algorithmic changes have ensured that local and independent businesses get their deserved attention in search queries. According to Think with Google’s research review, there has been a 200% growth in “where to buy” and “near me” mobile queries. Even then, it’s important for small business owners to keep up with latest developments and enthusiastically embrace novel SEO strategies.
But first, what exactly is local SEO and how does it differ from regular SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of increasing your website’s visibility in search engines organically through the use of keyword research tools, backlink checkers, etc. The primary difference between SEO and local SEO is the company’s location in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Regular SEO helps your website rank higher for general keywords that aren’t geo-restricted (mostly national and international search results) whereas local SEO is concerned with ranking higher for specific locations that are limited to ‘near me’ searches and neighborhood services. Local SEO takes advantage of the fact that people look for local businesses when they’re in the area. Speaking to a Kuwait top SEO agency or an SEO provider in Kuwait will help you in the execution of your local SEO efforts but you might want to take note of these dos and don’ts as well:
- Create a Google My Business Page – A business directory owned and operated by Google, Google My Business aims to provide accurate business information about local businesses to searchers. Creating a page here will allow you to add all necessary information like phone numbers, addresses, hours of location, and photos of your business and will help you appear on Google Maps and Google Search Results. Although most businesses have an automated listing by Google within a year of the business’s inception, it’s often incomplete or inaccurate. It’s important to first claim your listing, complete profile information, publish the listing, respond to reviews professionally and timely, and regularly update information.
While you’re at it, also work on getting listed on Bing Places, Apple Maps, Yahoo! Local, YellowPages.com, and Yelp!
- Create local content – It’s crucial that your content appeals to local audiences. Here’s where you will have to go beyond writing about general topics and try to implement local news, local events, local offerings, and local business roundups to get a step ahead of your competitors. This strategy will not only rank you higher in search results in your service area, but also help in establishing you as an expert in the industry. However, the goal should not be to stuff keywords, but target local keywords by creating natural content.
- Add NAP & Map Details – Another step you can take to increase your website’s visibility is to add your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) to the footer of your site. Yes, it makes it much easier for users to locate this information on your website, but it’s also used by search engines to determine your business’s identity and location. Which is also why it’s key that the information be consistent across all your websites and listings.
- Focus on user experience – More than 50% of online searches start on a mobile device. It’s imperative that your website be designed for mobile responsiveness. Mobile responsiveness includes a page display that’s responsive, fonts that are readable, a proper texting format, and an optimized media display. But it doesn’t end there. Your content should be mobile-friendly as well. This means tweaking the format to incorporate short paragraphs, subheadings, summaries, lists, etc. All of these contribute towards creating an ideal user experience. It’s important to focus on providing quality UX because the more time that visitors spend browsing through your website, the more keenly they engage with your content, and the more frequently they return, the higher you will be ranked by Google’s algorithm. (Check out our blog for more on responsive web design)
- Be reckless with reviews –You should be getting customer reviews from all places, including Yelp, Google Places, and other aforementioned review sites. Social media platforms shouldn’t be overlooked either since they are great ways to connect with consumers and get their feedback on your products/services. Interact with your customers online by addressing queries and comments. Leaving angry customers to share their less-than-ideal experiences with locals will surely damage your business. If you don’t respond to bad reviews, it will neither be appreciated by Google, nor your potential customers.
Also, do not hire people to write up fake reviews. Search engines are smarter than you think. You’re better off encouraging customers to leave authentic and organic reviews based on their positive experiences.
- Manipulate links – Publishing unnatural links or embedding links in articles that are irrelevant to your business, or non-useful for your target audience will ruin your local SEO. Manipulating links in such a way or controlling links that are directing to your website in an attempt to improve your website’s ranking will in turn classify your efforts as a link scheme. You should instead try to include inbound links because it increases your domain authority and tells Google you’re a legitimate company. This includes working on your own personal network by building meaningful relationships.
- Forget to optimize- Onsite optimization should be implemented for every page of your website. Page structure, which includes title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and URL will enhance your content and ultimately improve your ranking on SERPs. Local search engines especially rely on these to determine a page’s inclusion in its results. Every piece of content that you come up withneeds to be optimized for search engines by incorporating high-volume keywords onto the page structure. If you’re struggling to create geo-targeted content, consider writing case studies and customer success stories.
As the SEO world becomes more competitive, the success of your local business will be dependent on how well you embrace these dos and don’ts. In fact, implementing local SEO is the best strategy for small businesses since you don’t need to rank first on Google. You only need to rank first in your locality. Design Master is not only the best SEO company in Kuwait but is also one of the best online marketing companies in Kuwait. Contact us here to create your very own customized SEO strategy.